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Three-wheeler rally flagged off for Indonesia forests

MEDAN, Indonesia: Dozens of tourists set off through Indonesia’s malaria-infested jungles and potholed roads on three-wheelers as part of a rally to raise funds for forest conservation, organizers said yesterday. The 26 three-wheelers — with wimpy 250cc engines, five-liter fuel tanks and little capacity to climb slopes — began a two-week adventure Sunday over some 2,000 miles of mostly unlit roads between Sumatra and Bali islands.
“This is only for those with a spirit of adventure. We’ve told them of the difficulties,” said Julian Ananda, a local organizer in Medan, a city in northern Sumatra from where the rickety vehicles took off. “Most of them are prepared for the worst — they have jerry cans, tire pumps, and if we search their bags, I’m sure they’ll have stashed malaria tablets,” Ananda said.
Seventy-five foreign tourists — from Britain, United States, Australia and New Zealand among other nations — are taking part in the rally, named the “Bajai rally” after the Indian auto rickshaw brand Bajaj. Bajaj has a presence in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, where it is pronounced “Bajai.”
The rally was organized by The Adventurists, a Bristol-based group aiming to raise funds and awareness to promote forest conservation, with the participants hoping to make it to the resort island of Bali by Jan. 26.